Category Archives: Blog Post

People need to mind their own business and BE NICE! (Dammit!)




In Michigan, we have a bottle and can deposit law which makes it necessary to make trips to the bottle return at stores like Meijer and Walmart. Today, I was cleaning the garage and had a load of cans and bottles to go back to the store. Stores that sell beverages that have deposits are required to take back the cans and bottles and pay you back for your deposit.

2 things happened to today that makes me wonder WTF?

First, I was parked at Meijer in Acme and I was a ways away from the cart return. I had enough cans that I needed to get an empty cart to take them all in. I’m walking to the cart return and some woman comes running up to me (less than 2 feet away) and starts giving me crap about not wearing my mask. I said, “you are standing 2 feet away from me. We are outside and masks are NOT required. Please back off.” (Yes I do wear a mask where required.) She started going off on me more as I walked a way and told her to STFU and stay away from me.

Then, I return my cans and had a $15 return slip which you are supposed to turn in for cash in the store. I go in the store and got a few things. In the checkout, It worked out to be $9 and something so I would get $5 something back. The cashier started freaking out on me telling me that I can’t return cans for more money that what I was going to spend. She was EXTREMELY rude to me. I just said, I didn’t see anything about that on any signs and besides that, the law says I can get cash for the cans. She grumbled something and went off and came back with my $5.

People… PLEASE, Mind your own business and just be nice. That was way uglier then it had to be. The cashier was wrong. I’m going to guess she’s having a bad day. But, really?? #fail #meijer #mask #BS


Tired of Facebook and others censoring you?



My friend Suzie Had this warning on her Facebook Profile.  Facebook, Which owns THEIR SYSTEM decided that whatever article she clicked like on was false, based on what the government (or World Health Organization in this case) said.   It’s their right to censor what is on THEIR platform.

Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TickTock (sp?) and Google (YouTube) have that right. Their platforms are owned privately by those companies.  That gives them the right.   BUT, you do not have to live by the rules!  Take back the web from these “Social (engineering) media companies”.

 

 

Free speech is something we enjoy in the US and a lot of other places around the world.  It’s a god-given right of all humans.  BUT you don’t have the right to be heard on someone else’s platform. Just like you don’t have the RIGHT to be on the NBC evening news.  NBC has that right and they can allow you on there if they deem it important.  Just like these social media platforms. Yes, they make it much easier to get heard (or read) but they don’t guarantee it.  They also control who sees what and when.  They advertise against it (which is their business model).  But, to use them as your “platform” to be heard is not always the best plan.  It’s like building your house on rented land.

I’m not here to say who’s right and who’s wrong.  That is up to you, but the example I use is Alex Jones. Regardless of what you think of his opinions, he is a good example of someone that is being de-platformed by the main stream social media companies.  Apple, Google (YouTube), Facebook and Twitter (and I’m sure many more) have made it so you can’t find his stuff in those places. BUT, he still is out there. He has a podcast (several I think, I don’t listen to him).  He has a website and can say and do what he wants.  You can get his podcast and read his articles if you want.  You know why?   Because he has his OWN platform. Getting the word out is a little harder for him, but he’s still saying what he wants, when he wants.

You can do that as well.

Get your own WordPress BASED website (Not WordPress DOT COM).  Any webhost that can install WordPress works.  I use A2 hosting (see banner on the side bar of this page)   It’s cheap, mostly easy and the great thing is I OWN IT.   I can put what I want on this site and nobody can tell me to take it down. Nobody can just take it down because they don’t like it or it doesn’t comply with some sort of rule.  I can post Pictures, Videos, Audio Podcasts or just type whatever I want here.  IT’s MY WEBSITE.  Does not belong to the Social (engineering) Media companies.

Yes, it’s true that more people “COULD” see a post on social (potentially) than this site.  But if Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube do not want me to say something, they can take it out.   If they don’t like something on this page, they CAN’T take it out.

Freedom of speech is just like all the other rights out there.  Use it or lose it.


Godaddy Hosting – Good to Crappy in 3 Months



Since 1999, I have had MikeDell.com on the web.  The first few versions of it were just done on plain old HTML and then later FrontPage.  I went through a few web hosts over the years since around 2003 I’ve been on Godaddy hosting and WordPress.  I was on the mid-level shared hosting on Linux which allowed several websites to be hosted.   It was all going great for 17 years, until Godaddy informed me that I couldn’t update my PHP to the version needed to run the current version of WordPress and PowerPress.  They were getting rid of the servers that I was on an I had to move.

NORMALLY, when a web host wants to move you, they just move you and you don’t really have to do anything.  They just do it for you and it all goes well.  In the case of Godaddy, that was NOT the case.  Not only did I have to buy a plan (I got what I thought was the equivalent “new” hosting plan on the newer style servers.   Not that big a deal, but then I found out they would move my sites, but for $199 EACH!  –  STRIKE ONE

So, they send me some lame instructions on how to move a WordPress site ( I had 5 at this point ).  I just did it the way I know how and it did work.  The trouble started very shortly after that.  All my sites went down one day a week later.  I tried and tried to get to any one of them with no luck at all.   I called into Godaddy and they said first there was an issue they were working on.  SO I waited another day or two.  Still down.   SO I called back in.  This time they said, “you are using too many resources.”   I asked,  Really?  I have 5 WordPress sites and none of them are very busy.  The nice support lady said I should upgrade to the next level of shared hosting.   Since I had paid for a year at a time, I would have to pay the whole year at the new level (pro-rated) on the new plan…..    OK…. I suppose if you think it will help.   So I upgraded.    Sites came back but were a bit slow.  Figured it would take time to get back up to speed.

A week later, they were all down again.    This time they told me it was Malware on my sites.   I asked “what malware”  They said….   “Well, we can do a scan but you have to buy our super-duper security service for your site.”  “You know WordPress is very prone to be hacked”   That will be $39 per month.   (I refused because they were full of crap FYI) I gave it a bit of time.  Got rid of some plugins and things I didn’t really need and generally cleaned up a ton of unused stuff on the server.   It sped up a bit after that.

Then, a couple of weeks later…  Sites are down again.   I called in, and got the “you are using too much resources” thing again….. IOk,  I call Bullshit.  I asked them to tell me WHAT, in my very low traffic sites, is causing your server so much trouble?    They couldn’t tell me without a consult ($$$) with their “server team”,  but offered yet another expensive upgrade.   STRIKE TWO!

I moved MikeDell.com at that point.  It moved to Blubrry PowerPress sites (Use my Promo code MIKE for a free month if you want one) and I’m using PodcastMirror.com to take the feed traffic off the site. (Update, I moved MikeDell.com to A2 hosting as well)  It’s now a rocketship, but that still left the other 4 sites, slow as shit.    I called again and was told “You are using too many Resouces.   STRIKE THREE!

I went on a search for better hosting.   I found A2 Hosting right here in Michigan (Ann Arbor) and the price was about the same as I was paying for many years at Godaddy before the “upgrade”.  I signed up and figured I would try it.   Well, the first thing I noticed was the test site I put on there was VERY fast.   No issues with downtime, no issues with any other troubles.   I also saw on A2’s website that they will move sites for you.  (I was skeptical) but I thought “What the heck?”.  I put in a request and they asked for my login info to my Cpanel over a godaddy.   3 hours later, all my sites were copied over with all the settings, passwords and everything.   All I had to do was switch the DNS’s.    Less than 12 hours from start to finish, iook.org, benz-arpsc.org, traversecityclassof64.com and W8TVC.com were moved, had shiny new FREE SSL certs and were VERY fast.

I’m not sure what went wrong at Godaddy.  They were always very good and I’ve been an affiliate of theirs over the years. I think what might have happened is the guy that started it, Bob Parsons left the company.   He was a very strong CEO and had the customer in mind, not just making money.   Their support used to be top-notch.  Now they are just upselling. Upsell upsell upsell in support.  Throw money at it.  Extract every sale you can even if it’s not needed.    I still use them for domains (for now).  But I have canceled my hosting plan and (Very overpriced SSL Certificates.

I am an affiliate with A2 hosting now (none of my links are in this article) and so far I am a very happy, former Godaddy Hosting customer.

 


Podcast Crossroads





Today I’ve decided I’m closing down most of my podcasts.  I’ve realized that podcasting is a hobby and as such, shouldn’t seem like work.  I have tried to keep up on several shows and I feel guilty for not publishing episodes.

Traverse City Podcast,  Fast Food History are done.   Podcast Help Desk is not “done” but I’m leaving it up to the listeners if they want me to keep it around or not.    Traverse City Weather (alexa skill) will go weekly.    Mike Dell’s World will continue and of course Podcast Insider (the one I do for work) will continue.

Stay tuned here at MikeDell.com for my podcasting hobby 🙂


Quit Facebook?





With all the crazy news about Facebook and privacy, a lot of people are wanting to quit Facebook. I’m not one of them. I will stay on Facebook, but I’m making other plans (this website). I have a plan so that if Facebook somehow goes away, or I get fed up with it, or they kick me off it for some reason, people that know me can always come to MikeDell.com. Maybe we should all go back to the personal home page instead of building our brand on other’s platforms. With this website, I have my platform.

There was some news lately about YouTube (Google) banning gun related videos. Those people that *thought* they had a platform, no longer have a place to put out their videos. They have lost the connection to their audience.

That will not happen with me. MikeDell.com will ALWAYS be my connection to my audicance (such as it is).

I will use YouTube, Blubrry, Apple, Google, twitter and Facebook to publish and promote things, but when all else fails, MY own website will be here.

Also, my rule is, if you are worried about someone getting your info, don’t put it on FACEBOOK! 🙂


The AR-15 is Not the Problem – New Laws are Not the Solution





With all the talk about Guns lately, specifically the AR-15, I have some thoughts about this.

AR-15

First off, let’s clarify what we are talking about when we talk about the AR-15.  The AR-15 stands for “Armalite Rifle model 15”.  It is (in it’s stock form) a 223 caliber (same as a 22 rifle with a bit more powder behind the bullet) SEMI-automatic ( 1 trigger pull, one bullet comes out) rifle that LOOKS like it’s military counterpart, the M-16.   That is where the problem is.   The M-16 A1 was a FULL automatic (meaning machine gun) select fire gun.  The A2, A3 and A4 are 3 round burst or Full Auto select fire weapons.  (meaning pull the trigger and 3 rounds come out) The AR-15 is NOT an Assault Rifle.  It just looks like one.  There are many less military looking rifles out there that do EXACTLY the same thing and in more powerful calibers.  So banning the AR-15 is not going to help. Period.

M16A4 selector

Second, Banning ANYTHING just makes it slightly more difficult to get.  Criminals and crazies will find a way if that is what they really want.  Otherwise, they will just pick something else to kill with.  They already do not follow laws. Why would they follow one or two more laws?  Look at all the car and knife attacks that happen world-wide with no guns involved.

M16A1 (Old school)

Third, The AR-15 is not a particularly great rifle.  It’s ok, and highly customizable (but hard to convert to full-auto) but it’s not any better than a bunch of other deer rifles and I would argue not as good.  Just so you know that I do know what I’m talking about, I spent 9 years in the USAF with the M-16A1 (full auto) as my main duty weapon (along with the M-9 pistol).  It was good, easy to carry around, light, seemed to work every time we shot, which is the point.  Think of this… The government buys things, including guns, on a lowest-bidder system.  SO, the M-16 was the result of the lowest bidder.  Meaning, there are better guns out there that cost more.

AR15 Selector (note: No Auto or burst)

Now that we are talking about the same thing,  Banning the AR because of it’s looks is just like banning Corvettes because they look fast or banning Lemon-lime soda.  Sort of pointless.

Personally, I don’t really have a want or need for an AR-15.  I have the guns I want and need for my use of guns.  I have my carry pistols covered.  I have a deer rifle (but do not hunt) and a shotgun.  I’m happy with that. BUT, what I worry about is if we let the government ban a type of gun.  Then the next time something happens, they will want to ban that type of gun and before long, we won’t’ be able to have guns.   The slippery slope argument.

I don’t have a problem with better background checks and background checks for private sales and gun shows as long as it’s not hard to expensive to do. A reasonable fee and non-cumbersome process would be just fine with me.  We already have laws that cover who shouldn’t get guns. We need to enforce them. Not make up new ones.  Changing the age limit to buy guns wouldn’t really bother me but it wouldn’t helped in most mass-shootings because most of the shooters either were over 21 or got their guns in another way.

Magazine capacity is not the problem either.   With 10 round magazines and a skilled shooter, they can still get a crap-load of bullets down range.

In other words, this knee-jerk reaction to a tragedy is not going to help anyone.  Just like airline security, it’s just a feel good thing but doesn’t really do much for real safety.

What is the solution?  I haven’t got a clue.  Sorry, I don’t, but what has been proposed is not it.  I do know that much.


NASCAR 2018 Season Starts





As I write this, the pre-race coverage of the Daytona 500 is going on. I’m looking forward to a new season of NASCAR racing.

A lot of people think it’s funny that I would like NASCAR. Even I think it’s a bit strange, but what can I say? I really do enjoy the stories and stats from the races. There are a lot of underlying stories that get told off the track. The personalities involved on this type of “sport” are very colorful.

I’m a fan of Kyle Busch (#18 Toyota). I also like Brad Keselowski (#2 Ford), Chase Elliott (#9 Chevy), Denny Hamlin (#11 Toyota) and a few others. The only racer that I don’t like (and when I say I don’t like I really mean I just don’t want to see him win, but as a person I’m sure he’s fine) is Jimmy Johnson (#48 Chevy). Jimmy has a nickname in our house. Jimmy F##king Johnson 🙂 It’s just that he has been so successful over the years that I’m ready to see others win.

This year we will be missing Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth and Danica Patrick. There are a ton of rookies and younger drivers coming up this year and it will be very fun watching how they do.

A lot of teams that have been dominant in Cup racing have changed up a lot. Way too many changes cover here. 2018 NASCAR Cup Driver List

All in all, I think it will be an interesting season in NASCAR Cup racing (I don’t mention sponsors in this blog)

As they say on Fox Sports: “Let’s go racing boys! (and Girl for one more race) ”


He’s Doing it Again! – New Podcast from Mike Dell’s World Studios





Fast Food History is going to be a show about all the fast food places you drive by all the time (or used to). The history of the drive-thru, the burger, the hotdog, Pizza and everything else as told from the perspective of each fast food chain.

This will be a Weekly podcast with a Friday morning release (4am) so go over and get subscribed! FastFoodHistory.org

I have officially killed off several podcasts so I have room for this project.

Dead are: Traverse City Podcast, Geek of the North, 5 Minutes with Mike and Podcast Quick Hits. (along with a couple of private podcasts I was doing}.

I’m down to 4 now 🙂 Podcast Help Desk, Mike Dell’s World, Your Podcast by Blubrry (for work) and now Fast Food History.


Fall on Long Lake





I was able to help my dad update the firmware on his drone the other day and we tested it between rainstorms out at his house in the Long Lake Area (Grand Traverse County Michigan) and got some cool shots!.

Long Lake (with All 5 Islands)
Long Lake (with All 5 Islands)
The lake across the road from Dad’s house. His house in the lower left of the shot.